As the Ravens prepare for their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, with the stakes high, things have gotten serious around the Under Armour Performance Center.
Well, somewhat serious.
Before taking his team through an “Alignment Assignment Communication Technique practice” (a fancy phrase the Ravens like to use instead of “walk-through”), Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted to have a little fun at the expense of his family.
The “Harbowl” marks the first time in any major professional sport that two brothers are coaching against each other for a championship. So it’s only natural that parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, and sister Joani Crean, met with the media to answer questions via a national conference call.
“We are neutral in the Super Bowl,” Jackie made very clear after the first question was asked.
After taking about ten more minutes of questions, the moderator of the call announced that “John from Baltimore” would be the next in line to ask a question.
“Is it true that both of you like Jim better than John?” said “John from Baltimore.”
Right before Jackie laid into the reporter, sister Joani connected the dots, and realized that “John from Baltimore” sounded exactly like her brother John who coaches the Baltimore Ravens.
“Is that John Harbaugh?” asked Jacki, laughing.
With his mother already fired up, his father Jack came on the phone and said to his son, “Mom was ready to come right through this phone. I’m so happy that Joani recognized your voice.”
While John may be the first head coach to receive a spanking from his parents, he has bigger things to worry about as he begins to prepare his team for the game of their lives. The mood around the Ravens practice facility is light hearted as they absorb the moment they’re all in but when it comes time to buckle down and study, they’re fully focused.
Given the circumstances, it may be hard for the Harbaugh family to enjoy this historic moment given the media attention in relation to the success of their family. At the same time though, it’s good to see that John took in a laugh at the expense of his parents and sister.